Proud day for Tadhg

First taste of action in a Lions jersey

Tadhg Furlong awaiting a scrum during Saturday's game against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei
Tadhg Furlong awaiting a scrum during Saturday's game against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei
Tadhg Furlong is tackled by Tolu Fahamokioa in Saturday's clash

With two weeks to go to the opening Test, Tadhg Furlong got his first experience of rugby on New Zealand soil on Saturday.

As the Lions struggled against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, the Irish tight head prop was introduced to the game as a 46th-minute substitute, but he came up against a side throwing everything at the visitors, who had arrived down under just 72 hours earlier.

Furlong filled the coveted red Lions jersey quite well, and gave his side a solid scrum. And while not as prominent in open play as in the green jersey, he still upped his chances of figuring in the opening test. Courageous as ever, he showed his ability in the scrum, in what was a lively start to his tour.

This was a significant moment for the former New Ross player in getting a first game under his belt. It's been a steep climb for the Leinster performer since the start of the season but he will be glad to have the experience of this game behind them as he battles to settle into the Lions playing structures. He threw himself into the game on his introduction in what was a real learning curve.

At 24 years of age this was a remarkable pinnacle for the player who should continue to blossom on the tour.

Warren Gatland revealed after the game the difficulties players are experiencing in getting used to life in New Zealand.

'Several players are taking medication to help them sleep as they struggle to acclimatise to life in New Zealand. We only landed in the country on Wednesday of last week. We'd preferred to have had a week in the U.K. with the squad and a week in New Zealand.'

A tough tour awaits the Lions, but Furlong will see this as an opporunity to enhance his growing reputation.

Wexford People